This is part 2 of a multi-part series. Read Part 1.
La Fortuna was a lot of fun. It was our favorite place that we went in Costa Rica, mostly because there were a lot of options for things to do. It also was flatter than Santa Elena, which made walking everywhere less wearing. Our lodgings were a short walk from a river, where Petra wanted to go play every day. She started to do something she called “current sliding.” I asked her if she was putting her hands on the bottom of the river and letting the current move her along. She said, “No, it’s like that, but no part of your body can touch the bottom.”
“That’s called swimming,” I told her.
“No, it’s not swimming, swimming is harder than that,” she insisted.
This reminded me of the time she told me that she could look at letters and hear the sounds in her head, but insisted that she couldn’t possibly be reading.
She drew a picture in her journal showing the “current hands” carrying her, and I remembered reading somewhere that floating is just trusting that the water will hold you.
And we made some friends! Gary had a Frisbee friend from back in the day, and he connected us. We were thrilled to meet Brian and his girlfriend, Angie. We enjoyed having someone local to ask for advice about things and hang out with. Angie even had us over for breakfast on our last morning there. Brian showed us the iguanas that live in the trees in their yard. Crazy.
On their recommendation, we found a trail where people often see lots of sloths. We went without a guide this time. It was just as well; JC and Petra kept pointing out sloths and other interesting things to the guides of groups we passed. They have incredible skills!
At the end of the trail was a swampy area where the people who ran it left out fruit to attract birds. We sat and watched them for a long time, spotting hummingbirds, parakeets, and others that we didn’t know the names of.
La Fortuna put the “rain” in “rain forest.” It rained every night and most afternoons. The kids loved having the chance to run around in it and cool off. The volcano was constantly surrounded with clouds.
We went to the free hot springs one morning. I didn’t get any pictures because I didn’t want to get my phone wet (and it looked no different from the other rivers, really). We had a good couple hours soaking in the water until our muscles felt like jelly. The kids were fascinated that the springs were “powered by a volcano.” Coati came to visit; Petra found some fruit that somebody had left behind and set it out where one could eat it while she watched at a safe, but close, distance.
Besides the awesome natural wonders, La Fortuna is just a neat town. They definitely get a lot of tourists, and we did some of the tourist trap stuff. But there are also plenty of little restaurants and shops that are more laid back. Our favorite touristy thing was a visit to a chocolate museum, where we learned all about the history of making chocolate and enjoyed a tasting.
For our last night in the La Fortuna area, we stayed in a tree house! This was our one big splurge night, and it was completely worth it. The tree house had a big porch, hammocks, and a shower that felt like it was outside (it was screened in). We saw monkeys in the trees that night, and woke up to coffee and toucans on the porch the next morning. Silas and I went on a night tour there as well. I finally saw some frogs (there had been a drought the year before, so frogs were much rarer than I expected). In the morning, before it was time to go, we hiked down to their river where we swam with kingfishers darting into the water and monkeys hooting from the trees.
We were sad to leave for Manuel Antonio, our last stop.